Hanagushi Yakitori Japanese Restaurant
8/F, M88, 2-8 Wellington Street, Central
Tel: 2521 0868
Open: Monday-Saturday 11.30am-2.30pm (last order), 6pm-10.30pm (last order)
Cuisine: specialising in yakitori, kushiyaki and other grilled dishes
Price: about HK$275 without drinks or the service charge.
Ambience: quite basic, with just a few decorative prints on the walls.
Pros: the food came out at a good pace. We appreciated that when we called to reserve a table the friendly hostess checked that we knew the new address, since Hanagushi recently moved from its long-time space in Lan Kwai Fong to its present location.
Cons: the menu is too extensive; as well as the specialities of grilled dishes, it also serves sushi, sashimi, tempura, soup, rice and noodles. The skewers of chicken meatballs (HK$55) were too finely minced and were underseasoned, while the scallops (HK$95) were chewy. Sweet corn (HK$45) was tough, chewy and not sweet; other than the tare sauce brushed over it, it didn't have much flavour. A starter of Sansyoku bean curd with toro, sea urchin and salmon roe (HK$108), served with sheets of nori, had tuna that had been minced to an unpleasantly mushy paste, and the sea urchin didn't taste fresh.
Recommended dishes: we ordered primarily from the grilled section. Skewers of cherry tomato bacon rolls (HK$55) were fine, with crisply cooked meat and a sizzling hot tomato (bite it carefully). Grilled chicken wings with mentaiko (spicy cod roe, HK$70) were juicy and well-seasoned, as were the grilled lamb chops (HK$120), which are cooked to medium-rare unless you ask otherwise. Cow's tongue (HK$55) was sliced very thin, moist, peppery and not overcooked. Gingko nuts (HK$35) weren't as charred as we like, but the flavour was as intense as it could be.
What else? There's a yakitori counter where you can sit and watch your food being prepared.